Campus News

UGA professor honored by the Dominican Republic

Athens, Ga. – Howard J. Wiarda, the Dean Rusk Professor of International Relations in the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs, was recently honored by the Dominican Republic government.

Presented by President Leonel Fernández at the National Palace, Wiarda was given the “Order de Colon,” the highest honor the Dominican Republic government bestows. In honoring Wiarda, Fernández spoke of his “…inestimable contributions” to Dominican scholarship. Approximately 150 guests and friends gathered for the event at the Palace.

Wiarda began his academic career in the Dominican Republic 50 years ago when he wrote his master’s thesis and first book on “The Methods of Control in the Dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.” He wrote his doctoral thesis and second and third books on the post-Trujillo “Transition to Democracy” and the U.S. military intervention, a prelude to Vietnam in 1965.

The former head of UGA’s department of international affairs, Wiarda is considered to be one of the country’s leading experts on comparative politics.

Wiarda has written seven books, one that is in three volumes, about the Dominican Republic. Over a 50-year period he has visited and done research in the country on 33 occasions. A leading Latin American expert and a prolific author of more than 70 books, he also has conducted extensive research on Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia, the Middle East and Southern Africa.

Fernández, who was one of Wiarda’s students 35 years ago, is considered among the best and brightest among a new group of Latin American democratic presidents. Completing his third elected term this year, he is thought to be a leading prospect for a high United Nations or other international organization position.